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Business as Mission: A Challenging Rediscovery

Author: Mats Tunehag
Date: 07.03.2012
Category: Business as Mission

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Originally Posted in English

Did Christopher Columbus discover America? Not really. The Vikings were there many centuries earlier. So one may say that Columbus re-discovered America. Business as Mission is not a new discovery – it is a rediscovery of Biblical truths and practices. In one sense it is like the Reformation and its rallying cry: ad fontes – back to the sources.

Business as Mission, BAM, is a term widely used today. The term is new but the underpinning concept is nothing new. During the Reformation old truths were highlighted and contemporary assumptions were challenged. This is what the global BAM movement is doing today. We are revisiting Scripture, questioning jargon and traditions, and assessing the situation in the world.

Many Evangelicals often put an emphasis on the Great Commission, but sometimes make a great omission. This is only one of three mandates we have. The first one God gave us is the creation mandate, Genesis 1 - 3: we are to be creative and create good things, for ourselves and others, being good stewards of all things entrusted to us – even in the physical arena. This of course includes being creative in business – to create wealth. Wealth creation is a godly talent:“Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”(Deut 8:18) As Christians we often focus more on wealth distribution, but there is no wealth to distribute unless it has been created.

The second mandate is the great commandment which includes loving your neighbor. In the first and second mandates you find a basis for what modern day economists call CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility. It is about creating wealth and producing products and services in ways which consider ‘your neighbor’. CSR recognizes the importance of serving several constituencies through business – not just the owners, but also staff, suppliers, clients, community and the physical environment. CSR includes three bottom lines and looks at the impact businesses have economically, socially and environmentally for the various stakeholders.

BAM also recognizes the importance of the triple bottom line as it is based on the God given mandates about being a creative steward and serving people. But BAM goes beyond this, to CSR+, as we include the third mandate – the Great Commission. We are to glorify God and make Christ known among all peoples. This is the fourth bottom line. As we integrate the Great Commission into our business goals, we develop a global and missional perspective. BAM is CSR+ where the + can also be seen as a cross – putting everything under the Lordship of Christ.(1)

We need to re-discover our three Biblical mandates and review their implications on church, business and our global mission.

But there are of course many other issues and aspects as well. During this much needed ad fontes and re-discovery process (2) we need to ask ourselves:

Why do we seem to value the calling to be a pastor and a missionary over the calling to be an entrepreneur or accounting executive?  

Why are there so few sermons on Biblical views on work and business?

Keywords: Lausanne, BAM, business, Mats Tunehag, mission, workplace ministry

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Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Ashley_Denton (0)
United States

Thank you Mr. Tunehag for your thoughtful article. I resonate with your questions, and concur that if we are going to reach the thousands of unreached people groups across our globe with the Gospel, the church is going to have to take the lid off of releasing a broader variety of gifted individuals into the mission field. Business is one of those areas where there is a glaring need, and many proven successful models that need to be multiplied. Our work is primarily empowering, equipping, and encouraging indigenous youthworkers to introduce young people to Jesus and help them grow in their faith. One of the most prominent obstaces we have seen over the last decade is not whether their are willing and gifted young leaders who will commit to this work, but rather the need is a workable and sustainable structure for them to carry out this mission. With unemployment at rates like 70% among young people in areas such as the Indian Sub-Continent, the most pressing problem is to provide good paying jobs and meaningful work for these young people so that they can provide for their families and then have some margin in their life to be able to offer their time and energy to sparking and driving Great Commission movements in their arenas of influence. I believe these leaders are already in place, gifted, and ready to "go", and where the worldwide community of Believers can help the most is by actively pursuing good structures for sustainable employment.

-Ashley Denton, Vice President | Nexus International. P.S. I think one of the practical steps we can take is to do a better job of "Vision Casting." I recently wrote a blog addressing this issue that may interest some readers: "CASTING VISION | A WORD IS WORTH A THOUSAND PICTURES"


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